Florida St. Win Total Prediction
The first year of the Willie Taggart-era was not a good one for Florida State. Are the Seminoles set to rebound in 2019 and be an ACC contender?
After seeing Jimbo Fisher surprisingly leave the program for Texas A&M in 2017, FSU hired Willie Taggart from Oregon for 2018. The first year was pretty forgettable, as the Seminoles were just 5-7 overall. According to oddsmakers, the Seminoles come into this season with an over/under of 7.5 wins. The over and under are both listed at -110.
Normally a pretty dynamic offense, FSU ranked near the bottom of the nation last year by averaging just 21.9 points and 361.2 yards per game. Their passing attack was actually respectable, putting up 270.1 yards per game. James Blackman took over the starting QB spot late in the year and finished the season with 510 yards and five touchdowns. He has six of FSU’s top seven receivers back for 2019 and running back Cam Akers also returns after leading the team in rushing with 706 yards. FSU will have some questions up front, but a second year in the Taggert system should lead to improved offensive numbers.
The FSU defense was as bad against the pass as its offense was at moving the ball in the air. The Seminoles were 120th against the pass, allowing 268.7 yards per game. Overall, FSU gave up 31.5 points and 416.3 yards per game, both of which were near the bottom tier of CFB. FSU does return five starters for this season, including Stanford Samuels III, who had four interceptions in 2018. Leading tackler Hamsah Nasirildeen is also returning. He had 91 tackles in 2018. The big question for FSU will be up front and with the pass rush. FSU loses leading sack man Brian Burns, who had 10 sacks in 2018. Joshua Kaindoh and Marvin Wilson each had 3.5 sacks, which was next on the team. They both return up front for the Seminoles.
Florida State is opening up the season with a doozy, as it hosts Boise State on Aug. 31. FSU will also host UL-Monroe and Alabama State in non-conference play while traveling to Florida to end the year. In ACC play, FSU travels to Virginia, Clemson, Wake Forest and Boston College. The Seminoles will host Louisville, N.C. State, Syracuse and Miami.
It’s been a rough couple of years for Florida State. They went 5-7 last year and 7-6 in 2017. It was the worst two-year span since late in the Bowden-era over 10 years ago. Taggert has led his team to improved records everywhere he has been, but the ACC is a different animal than the Sun Belt or AAC. FSU has to get a lot better on defense and with the run game. I don’t know that that will happen right away and FSU has some tough games early with Boise State, Virginia, Louisville, N.C. State and Clemson making up five of the first six. I think making the jump from five wins to eight is going to be difficult. Trips to Clemson and Florida seem like losses right off the bat and there are a lot of coin-toss games that FSU hasn’t proven they can win yet under Taggert.
College Football Prediction: Florida State Under 7.5 wins -110